Chief economist update: All Ords rising

Six index points or 0.1% is all the All Ordinaries index needs to add to by the close of today's trading activity and it would match the decade-high (January 2008) closing level of 6241.46 points recorded on January 9 this year.

As at yesterday's closing of 6234.95 points, the All Ords has turned around its negative year-to-date performance just a few days before into a 1.1% gain and is up 6.4% from the 2018 low of 5859.15 points registered on 3 April 2018. That was the time everybody and his dog were fretting over a global trade war that was prompted by US President Donald Trump's announcement of 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% on aluminium.

This has led to tit-for-tat threats with other countries, most specifically with China. But the tide has (or appears to have) turned. It turned after Trump announced on Twitter that, "ZTE, the large Chinese phone company, buys a big percentage of individual parts from US companies. This is also reflective of the larger trade deal we are negotiating with China and my personal relationship with President Xi."

Whether it's part of a "conspiracy" or a "grand plan" to deflect attention away from his recent notice to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal or the transfer of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, only Trump knows.

What is clear is that Trump's recent change of tone with regards to America's bilateral trade with China is a step in the right direction that thaws trade tensions not only with Beijing but with most of the US' trading partners ... and what is good for China is good for Australia.

The easing in trade tensions and the potential for a global trade war could also re-start the slowing global growth momentum that we've been witnessing over the past few months. In turn, providing more uplift to commodity prices. Both would be beneficial for Australia.

Domestically, both the Coalition government and the opposition Labor Party have promised tax cuts for us, Australians, all.

Aside from the fact that no one in their right mind would complain about the government reducing tax payables, the promised tax cuts should help plug a missing link between lacklustre wage growth and household spending.

Wage growth has remained sluggish - up 2.1% in the December 2017 quarter from 2% in the previous quarter. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) will release the March 2018 quarter update. Expectations are for wages growth to remain steady at 2.1% but based on its lagged negative correlation with the underemployment rate, the risk is for slightly weaker growth.

The promised reduction in taxes announced in the Budget has already changed sentiment a lot as evidenced by the Fairfax/Ipsos poll conducted on 9-12 May 2018.

Its survey of 1200 respondents revealed that 38% (up from 20%) think they will be better off as a result of the Budget. This according to Ipsos is "the highest rating of personal benefit from a Budget since 2006." Those who feel they'll be worse off dropped from 50% to 25%.

The expected increase in consumer spending as a consequence of this should further strengthen equity market gains which in turn, would produce a wealth effect, underpinning more household spending and further share market appreciation.

And of course, there's the RBA that's still maintaining its accommodative policy stance.

Barring any unforeseen events, the All Ords could be back to its all-time high of 6853.57 points recorded on All Saints' Day (1 November) 2007.

Ben Ong is the Director of Economics and Investments at Rainmaker Group. He previously worked as a fund manager, economist, asset allocation strategist, portfolio analyst and stock market analyst. Check out his economics analysis here.

Read more: AustraliaChinaAll OrdsBudgetIpsosAll Ordinaries indexAustralian Bureau of StatisticsBeijingCoalitionFairfax/IpsosIranIsraelJerusalemLabor PartyTel AvivUS President Donald TrumpZTE
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